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Canberra to open international cricket season

Cricket Australia today confirmed that the Prime Ministers XI will host the New Zealand BLACK CAPS on Friday 23 October at Manuka Oval.

The annual fixture will be New Zealand’s first match in Australia before the Commonwealth Bank Test series kicks off in Brisbane on the 5th of November.

Cricket ACT Chairman Ian McNamee is excited about the prospect of the international cricket season getting underway in the nation’s capital.

“We’re happy that it’s in Canberra,” said McNamee.

“It fitted in with Cricket Australia’s calendar, and we’re happy that it did.

“Particularly, I think one thing that will be great for the people of Canberra is the date will probably encourage more of the corporates, perhaps some early Christmas functions being held here at the game.

“We do know in the past, when it was in the New Year, it wasn’t quite as popular as when we previously had the game in December. So that will be one plus.”

Glenn Maxwell scored a dashing hundred in last year's fixture (PHOTO: Getty Images/Mark Nolan)

Glenn Maxwell scored a dashing hundred in last year’s fixture (PHOTO: Getty Images/Mark Nolan)

McNamee expects fan to stream through the gates to see the stars that propelled New Zealand to an ICC World Cup Final appearance earlier this year.

“We expect a big crowd, it’s against New Zealand. New Zealand are performing very well as a One Day team.

“Again under these magnificent lights at Manuka, it’ll be a special day.”

In recent years the timing of the fixture has seen some domestic players rendered unavailable due to Big Bash League commitments, however McNamee hopes that the earlier date will allow for the selection of a stronger squad.

“Cricket Australia had that in mind at the time. They’re very conscious of the PM’s team being strong. That would have been one of the considerations of having the game at that particular time.

“New Zealand will of course have a strong team too, so we’re looking forward to an exciting contest.

“It’s a very tight calendar now, with the amount of cricket that’s on, with the Big Bash, and the One Day competition has been brought forward as well.

“So I think they’ve done a great job. We’re happy. It’s the start of the international cricket season here in Canberra.”

The fixture has recently been used a launching pad for ACT cricketers to higher honours, with Ryan Carters, Jono Dean and Nick Winter all benefiting from Prime Ministers XI exposure.

ACT player Jono Dean hit a half century for the PMs XI against the West Indies (PHOTO: AFP)

ACT player Jono Dean hit a half century for the PMs XI against the West Indies (PHOTO: AFP)

“There will be no doubt, as usual, at least one local player playing. Traditionally, the twelfth man is also a local player as well.

“We’ve had more than one in the past, and that could well happen too.

“We’ve got a lot of good cricketers around Australia, and let’s hope that in the future we get more games for them to participate in.”

The Prime Ministers XI team will be selected by Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel with input from the Prime Minister, and will be announced closer to the match.

Corporate hospitality packages are available through Earlybird Marketing and Events, and general tickets for the match will go on sale to the public on 21 August through Ticketek.

(MAIN PHOTO: Alex Ellinghausen)



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